2018 Lectures Nearly Here

Gifford_Lecture_Series_2018 Fuentes

The 2018 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh are less than a month away! Professor Agustin Fuentes will give the first of his six Gifford Lectures on Monday, 26 February. Fuentes’ lectures promise to be of interest to a wide-ranging audience. He gives the following overview of the entirety of his lectures:

Humans can see the world around them, imagine how it might be different, and translate those imaginings into reality… or at least try to. Humans believe. Meaning, imagination, and hope are as central to the human story as are bones, genes, and ecologies. Neither selfish aggression nor peaceful altruism dominates human behavior as a whole. We are a species distinguished by our extraordinary capacity for creative cooperation, our ability to imagine possibilities and to make them material, and our powerful aptitudes for belief, hope, and cruelty. In the 21st century significant shifts in our understanding of evolutionary biology and theory, radical expansions in the archeological and fossil records, and increasing collaboration across multiple fields of inquiry alter our capacities to investigate the human niche, how humans shape and are shaped by the world. Via exploring our evolution, the emergence of our capacity to create, innovate, and collaborate we develop better understandings of human natures and the answers as to why we believe. And, hopefully, to better contemplate the possibilities of human futures.

As in past years this blog will be active to facilitate discussion of Fuentes’ lectures online. I will be posting lecture summaries shortly after the lectures are given, the videos of each lecture will be posted on the blog, and several contributors will offer their reflections to further facilitate conversation.

This year’s lectures will be held in The Playfair Library Hall.


Whether you are able to attend the lectures in person (you can reserve your free tickets here) or are only able to engage from a distance your contribution is most welcome either way. For further details on how to join the conversation see How to Engage. This weblog offers the opportunity to further develop our critical perspective by engaging with the content of the Gifford Lectures online. As David (the 2016 blog host) importantly noted, “We are not only seeking contributions from members of the academy, nor is discussion limited to those who practice a particular faith.” Anyone is warmly invited to join the discussion by sharing comments and questions on the content of the lectures.

We look forward to this year’s discussion!

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